Co-President Pro Tempore
Senator Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City
State Capitol Room 418
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105
For Immediate Release: May 24, 2007
Senator Glenn Coffee
Coffee Grades Legislative Session ‘B+’
Oklahoma Senate Co-President Pro Tempore Glenn Coffee graded the
2007 legislative session a “B+,” but said the session
could have gotten an “A” if Gov. Brad Henry had signed
a bipartisan lawsuit reform bill passed by the Legislature.
“This was a ‘B+’ session that could have been
an ‘A’ if Gov. Henry had signed the lawsuit reform bill,”
stated Coffee, R-Oklahoma City. “But we still accomplished
a lot for the people of Oklahoma, and the Senate finished the people’s
business early and in an orderly fashion.”
“The tie in the Oklahoma Senate has changed everything at
the State Capitol,” Coffee said about the Legislature’s
evenly divided upper chamber. “Under Democrat control, the
Senate was known as the place where good bills go to die. Now that
Republicans have an equal say here, we have made the Senate a place
where good ideas can thrive.”
Coffee noted that Senate Republicans used their new authority in
the Senate to pass nearly every major component of their legislative
“This was a very successful legislative session for Senate
Republicans. We passed new tax relief for Oklahoma families and
small businesses. We enacted new protections for the unborn. We
developed a long-term fix for the Teacher Retirement System, and
passed a major immigration reform bill. We held the line on spending
by enacting a state budget that actually spends less money than
the current budget,” Coffee said. “And, for the first
time ever, a meaningful lawsuit reform bill passed the state Senate
and reached the governor’s desk.”
Highlights of Senate Republicans’ accomplishments in 2007:
• Lawsuit reform: Although it was vetoed by the governor,
this was the first time a meaningful lawsuit reform bill passed
the Senate and made it to the governor’s desk.
• Tax relief: Senate Bill 861 speeds up an income tax cut
and includes a back-to-school sales tax holiday.
• Held the line on spending: The FY 2008 budget agreement
spends less than total spending for FY 2007 – and leaves money
on the table for future needs.
- OVER -
• Government accountability: SB 1, the Taxpayer Transparency
Act, places the state budget online in a searchable database.
• Merit pay for teachers: A portion of the teacher pay increase
was weighted toward veteran teachers and those with advanced degrees
– a first step toward merit pay. Funding was also increased
for the Academic Achievement Awards, a bonus program for teachers.
• Pro-life: Two bills (SB 714 and SB 139) prohibiting the
use of taxpayer funds for abortions made it through the Senate,
and the second one became law.
• Teacher Retirement System: Senate Republicans helped push
through a permanent increase in funding that will help make the
system more solvent in the long-term, and we insisted that a downpayment
on the plan ($10 million) be made in the FY 08 budget.
• Immigration Reform
• Access to Health Care: Senate Republicans helped increase
access to healthcare for thousands of Oklahomans by increasing Medicaid
payment rates to doctors, hospitals, and nursing homes to ensure
greater participation in the program.
For more information, contact:
Senator Coffee's Office: (405) 521-5654